Friday, May 22, 2009

When the Compulsion to Discard Descends...

Like many, many women, for most of my life I've agreed to participate in a few more things than I have time to manage.

In the trunk of my car I have a separate compartment or bag for every activity.

There's the "stuff" I need to attend the boys' sports -- a folded, bagged chair (the short kind in which my feet still reach the ground), a couple paperbacks, bottles for water, umbrellas, jackets, blankets...

I keep a box with supplies to help the weddings I coordinate go smoothly. There are copies of old programs in case a bride needs some ideas, music lists and suggestions, and notes about upcoming weddings. Tucked inside that box is an unwrinkled knit dress and pair of dress shoes stored with copies of instrumentals I like using at weddings. (Overkill? Not hardly! I once received a desperate call at 1:46 that the pianist hadn't appeared for a 2:00 wedding and could I play the piano? Arriving at 2:04, I found there was no sheet music, so I guess I composed most of my own that day; trust me, that's not a beautiful or even harmonic event. Worse, I walked from the back of the church to the piano through guests in fancy wedding attire. My attire? Blue jeans, sneakers, and my blue sweathshirt with the garrish yellow fish screaming, "Jamaican Me Crazy!" on the back. A proud moment it was not.)

There's a bag for each day of the week. Monday's bag is the smallest. I led a couple adult scripture studies this winter. I keep the bag in the trunk because if I empty it, I'll feel compelled to find something to fill it.

Wednesday's bag bulges with music for kids' choir, religion books, notes about things I want to teach my classes, two of my favorite Bibles, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Stuffed in the bag are some of my favorite homework assignments from my students. One packet contains the eighth grade prayers that sparked a conversation about praying for Churck Norris. Chuck is, after all, the spitting image of Jesus.

Of course, the entire trunk is littered with music. I keep thinking someday I'll file it. Inevitably, that thought most often occurs when I'm desperately seeking some scrap of music we need.

I noticed the state of my vehicle last night when I walked to my car with B to get her crock pot. Apparently, the trunk wasn't quite large enough to handle this spring's activities. The back seat of my car is heaped with nearly completed and developing projects. There's a box of files from work I need to organize, the two crock pots I used to prepare food for a recent SALT event, and a bag of craft supplies I need to donate. At the bottom of the heap are my replacement gym clothes.

The car is shocking really. I have a lot of Rules of Order in my life. I can't handle messy cupboards, cabinets, or closets. My spices have to be arranged in alphabetical order. My bowls and casserole dishes must be stored with their lids.

I'm sure there are all kinds of theories about my need for secret order. So what the heck happened to the car??

I feel the labor pains of a new compulsion: I'm itching to clean that car -- and not just to move the projects to the house or office. I feel compelled to chuck it all.

I'm left wondering: when I finally act on this compulsion to discard, who is the person who will stand atop the piles of trash and shout, "Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!"?